All about the Turkish Şalgam Suyu, a plant-based drink.
Şalgam suyu is a popular plant-based drink originating from the southeastern region of Turkey, around the cities of Mersin and Adana and is a great example of Turkish regional cuisine. In Turkish, the word “şalgam” means turnip, but this traditional drink is actually made from purple carrots, bulgur wheat, salt and yeast.
Šalgam suyu is traditionally served chilled in large glasses with long slices of pickled carrots, called “tane”. Some like a spoonful of hot red pepper sauce mixed just before serving for extra heat. If you like it spicy or mild, şalgam is one of the most popular drinks to go with the spicy Adana kebab.
Şalgam is also served alongside rakı, the famous Turkish aniseed drink nicknamed “lion’s milk”. He is a great hunter.
How is Şalgam Suyu prepared?
Drinking a good Şalgam Suyu is an experience to live in Turkey but if you can’t come to us at the moment, we will explain how to prepare it at home.
What do you need? 1 large şalgam turnip, 1 large beet, 2 kilos of carrots, juice of 2 lemons (or 1 1/2 tsp crystal citric acid), 1/3 cup of table salt, 1/2 loaf of bread, 5 cups of purified water.
Put on rubber gloves, peel the turnip and beetroot and cut them. Peel the carrots and divide them into four. Wrap the half loaf of bread in cheesecloth and tie the end to make a “hobo sack”. Put the sack inside the glass jar. Add the sliced vegetables and all other ingredients except the salt.
In a separate container, mix the salt with about 3 cups of purified water to dissolve it, then pour it into the jar. Add more water as needed to fill the jar to the top with liquid. Close the lid tightly. Set the jar aside in a cool place to ferment for 15 days. Do not attempt to open the jar for 15 days. After 15 days, open the jar and remove the cheesecloth and bread. The bread acted as a fermenting agent. After cooling it, your ‘şalgam’ juice is ready to drink. You can serve the now pickled vegetables alongside for munching.